When Sarah Lagrotteria's daughter was an infant, the professional chef started thinking about her role in introducing foods to the youngster. She was intrigued by the opportunity to make baby food and help Marlowe, now almost 2, develop her palate.

When Sarah Lagrotteria's daughter was an infant, the professional chef started thinking about her role in introducing foods to the youngster. She was intrigued by the opportunity to make baby food and help Marlowe, now almost 2, develop her palate.

"Introducing Marlowe to solids is one of my absolute favorite memories as both a chef and a mom," she said. "I loved shopping the farmers market with her in mind, wondering what textures and flavors she would like. She always surprised me."

For example, Lagrotteria said that beets, which strike her as more of an adult food, "were an immediate hit. That was a great reminder that babies come to food without any preconceived notions."

The experience also showed Lagrotteria how important first foods can be in shaping a child's relationship with food.

"My hope is that she'll absorb the enthusiasm I feel cooking for her and that that will set her up for a lifetime of happy, healthy eating," she said.

Lagrotteria researched the eating habits of babies and developed several recipes her daughter loved. She has turned her knowledge into a class that she offers at The Seasoned Farmhouse, a cooking school and boutique in Clintonville.

Lagrotteria shared with Columbus Parent her recipes for sweet potato and beet purees, which she recommends serving together as a swirl.

Note: When introducing babies to new foods, it is important to feed them one thing at a time. Do not serve a baby the swirled dish unless they have successfully eaten sweet potatoes and beets separately.

For more information about The Seasoned Farmhouse, visit theseasonedfarmhouse.com.

BEET AND SWEET POTATO SWIRL

Yields about 2 cups.

INGREDIENTS

*1 sweet potato, scrubbed

*1 bunch baby beets, about 1 pound, trimmed and scrubbed

INSTRUCTIONS

For the Sweet Potato Puree:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prick the potato in several places and place on a small, foil-lined baking sheet. Place it in the oven and bake until very tender, about 45-60 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Peel the potato. Puree the potato in the food processor until smooth, adding water, breast milk or formula to achieve the desired consistency. (The potato may become so tender in the oven that you may be able to puree it in a dish with a fork.) Set puree aside.

For the Beet Puree:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the beets in a small baking dish and add water to come ½-inch up the pan. Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Place the covered dish in the oven and bake until very tender, about 45-60 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the beets cool. Put the beets in the food processor and puree until smooth, adding a little liquid as necessary to achieve desired consistency.

Creating the Swirl:

Store the two purees separately. When ready to serve, pour into same container and swirl together lightly with a spoon.